WHO is supporting the national authorities in the response to an outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD; formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever). The outbreak is now confirmed to be caused by a strain of ebolavirus with very close homology (98%) to the Zaire ebolavirus. This is the first time the disease has been detected in West Africa.
Cases were first reported from forested areas in south-eastern Guinea. The outbreak has rapidly evolved and several districts and Conakry have reported cases and deaths caused by EVD. A small number of suspected cases and deaths has also been reported from neighbouring countries with all of them having crossed from Guinea. Confirmed cases have been reported from Guinea and Liberia.
Genus Ebolavirus is one of three members of the Filoviridae family (filovirus), along with genus Marburgvirus and genus Cuevavirus. Genus Ebolavirus comprises five distinct species: Bundibugyo ebolavirus (BDBV); Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV); Reston ebolavirus (RESTV); Sudan ebolavirus (SUDV); and Taï Forest ebolavirus (TAFV). BDBV, EBOV, and SUDV have been associated with large EVD outbreaks in Africa, whereas RESTV and TAFV have not. Samples taken from patients in this outbreak have tested positive for EBOV. (Article above quotes from WHO)